Swifts in Woking

Seen a swift? Tell us!

Woking Swifts is a project to protect this beloved bird in sharp decline in the UK.

Swifts are an iconic and incredible migrant species that:

  • migrate over 14,000 miles every year
  • can stay in the air for two to three years without landing once
  • eat, sleep and even mate on the wing
  • fly 500 miles a day to feed on airborne insects
  • can live for up to 30 years

Swifts in the UK are currently declining at nearly 5% per annum. They declined 53% between 1995 and 2016 and the swift is classified as 'Endangered' in Great Britain according to the IUCN criteria.

Project update, August 2018

This summer we have launched the project and with your help, collected an abundance of information about where swifts have been seen in Woking this year. You can see a map of these sightings on this page. Nest boxes have been installed in Woking town centre, Knaphill and more are planned for Byfleet village later this year.

We are also running a couple of half day workshops in September where you will be able to build your own nest boxes! If you dont manage to secure a spot, you can still have the chance to get a nest box installed on your property. For just 15, to contribute towards the cost of materials, we can arrange for the installation of two nest boxes on your property (conditions apply).

Current workshop dates are 14 and 28 September at the Community Furniture Project in Woking, from 10am to 2pm.

Please do get in touch via email on swifts@thamesweygroup.co.uk if you are interested and look out for more information. Get updates on Twitter @SwiftsInWoking.

About the project

Swifts arrive in the UK at the end of April/early May to breed, before returning all the way to Africa in August. However, they now find it hard to find places to breed because so many of our buildings have been renovated, meaning they can no longer nest in them. Alongside this, there is less food for them as there are fewer insects to feed on due to factors such as increasing pesticide use.

Swift image by James SellenTo help reverse this, Woking Borough Council has teamed up with Thameswey Ltd (a company wholly owned by Woking Borough Council) and members of the local community to do the following:

  • Raise awareness of the plight of swifts in Woking Borough
  • Recruit volunteer swift spotters to find out where we currently have swifts
  • Work with developers and the local community to provide more nesting opportunities for swifts, so we can increase their numbers

Swift image by James Sellen

This project is part of our wider strategy to support local biodiversity and green spaces, called Natural Woking.

Want to get involved?

If you've seen any swifts this year, please email in to report your sightings. You can see a map of where swifts have been so far on the sightings page.

If you want to be more involved in the project, you can be. We want to hear from people who might be able to help us with the following:

  • Building nest boxes
  • Installing nest boxes
  • Volunteering to raise awareness
  • People who would like to a have a swift nest box on their own property

If you would like to help, email swifts@thamesweygroup.co.uk for more details.

If you want to learn more about swifts, (such as where to buy nest boxes, where to put them, how to spot them, etc.) then there are mountains of information on the www.swift-conservation.org website.